Lake Country husband charged with murder in connection with wife’s drowning

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Nearly three years after a canoe capsized on Okanagan Lake and a woman died, her husband has been charged with second-degree murder. Jules Knox reports – Apr 8, 2019

RCMP said a Lake Country man has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of his wife almost three years ago.

In June 2016, the B.C. Coroners Service said the body of Arlene Susan Westervelt, 56, was recovered from Okanagan Lake after her canoe capsized.

READ MORE: Search crews scour Okanagan Lake for missing 57-year-old Lake Country woman

At the time, officials said her husband was also in the canoe when it overturned and was picked up by another boat.

On Saturday, almost three years after Arlene’s death, police announced what first looked like an accidental drowning is now alleged to have been murder.

The Lake Country woman’s husband was charged with second-degree murder on Saturday in connection with her death.

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Watch: Divers recover body of missing Lake Country woman (June 2016)

Police said Lambertus “Bert” Westervelt, 63, was arrested on Friday “without incident” and has a court date scheduled for Monday.

RCMP said Arlene drowned “while canoeing and picnicking along the shores of Okanagan Lake.”

READ MORE: Lake Country woman killed in canoeing accident identified

This photo of Arlene Westervelt was posted on an online obituary site.
This photo of Arlene Westervelt was posted on an online obituary site.

According to police, search and rescue and fire officials looked for her extensively the same evening.

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“Arlene’s body was recovered the following day in 35 feet of water, approximately 100 feet from the shore by specially trained divers of the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team,” Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey wrote in a media release.

An online obituary from the days after her death remembers Arlene as a passionate traveller.

“Whether at work or at play, she always lived life to the fullest. Her favourite saying was, ‘You can sleep tomorrow,’” said the obituary.

“Arlene’s friends were many and spanned all chapters of her life. She was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside.”

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